Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà

On 21 October in Paris, Sotheby’s offered for sale the collection of Dr. Arthur Brandt, whose passion and appreciation for Dada and Surrealism is reflected in this auction. Highlights include numerous works by Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters as well as a major work by Francis Picabia and others by Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, and Max Ernst.

The auction has now ended, with a grand total of €21.5 million.

All right then. Let’s take a look at Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà, particularly at the two out of several works of  Marcel Duchamp. Above is his “L.H.O.O.R”. Quoting Wikipedia:

In 1919, Duchamp made a parody of the Mona Lisa by adorning a cheap reproduction of the painting with a mustache and goatee. To this he added the inscription L.H.O.O.Q., a phonetic game which, when read out loud in French quickly sounds like “Elle a chaud au cul”. This can be translated as “She has a hot ass”, implying that the woman in the painting is in a state of sexual excitement and availability. It may also have been intended as a Freudian joke, referring to Leonardo da Vinci‘s alleged homosexuality. Duchamp gave a “loose” translation of L.H.O.O.Q. as “there is fire down below” in a late interview with Arturo Schwarz. According to Rhonda Roland Shearer, the apparent Mona Lisa reproduction is in fact a copy modeled partly on Duchamp’s own face.[33] Research published by Shearer also speculates that Duchamp himself may have created some of the objects which he claimed to be “found objects”.

On October 21, L.H.O.O.Q fetched a whooping 631,500 euros. Gasp.

Dada artists are known for their use of ready-made objects — everyday objects that could be bought and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist. The use of the ready-made forced questions about artistic creativity and the very definition of art and its purpose in society.

Indeed, L.H.O.O.Q manifests remarkably little manipulation by the artist upon the ready-made object — a cheap print of La Joconde! Just harping.

Boîte-en-valise, yet another Duchamp, is a portable museum containing 68 of his most famous works, either reproduced or miniaturised, has been sold  for €319,500.

Dada was the first conceptual art movement where the focus of the artists was not on crafting aesthetically pleasing objects but on making works that often upended bourgeois sensibilities and that generated difficult questions about society, the role of the artist, and the purpose of art.

And what a remarkably cheap and time-and-effort-consuming method to achieve such a noble goal! Makes me, a skeptic lacking of appreciation for Dadaism, wonder if Dadaists themselves defined their intentions while “crafting their art”.  Numerous art critics say yes and more:

So intent were members of Dada on opposing all norms of bourgeois culture that the group was barely in favor of itself: “Dada is anti-Dada,” they often cried.

The video clip below features the entire Collection Arthur Brandt : Dada, Surréalisme et au-delà, courtesy of Sotheby’s site:

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Meet The Sculptor: Luo Li Rong

Luo Li Rong is a Chinese artist born in 1980 who settled in Belgium. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Beijing. Once she graduated, she joined the studio of Zon Jiabao, which allowed her to refine her figurative style. Luo Li Rong produces realistic sculptures that convey the beauty and grace of the human body. Her life-size creations feature women in motion. They strike elegant poses that elongate their bodies with a seemingly windswept appearance; their hair and clothing look as though they’re being moved by a gentle breeze. This creates a compelling dichotomy; while there is an impressive dedication to realism.
Rong is careful to detail each delicate fold of the skin. There’s also a fantastical element to her work, as her characters reside on clouds and hold raindrops in their hands.Работа художницы и скульптора Луо Ли РонгРабота художницы и скульптора Луо Ли Ронг

The artist, by her own admission, is greatly inspired by Renaissance and Baroque sculpting techniques. The veiled marble sculptures of a renown Italian, Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875), might as well be among the works that influenced this talented young sculptor.

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This statue was executed in flawless Carrera marble by the renowned Italian sculptor Giovanni Strazza (1818-1875) in Rome. 

 

Creative Pyrotechnics in Paris

Thus far, my blog has 2 earlier posts about the antics of the radical political performance artist Pyotr Pavlensky, with enticing titles Flaming Testicles and Tastefully Nailed Testicles, both named in reference to Pavlensky’s favorite creative media — his own scrotum. That’s right, Pavlensky gained notoriety for anti-Kremlin stunts including nailing his scrotum to the Red Square cobblestones, as well as slicing off part of his ear and sewing his mouth shut. This isn’t for nothing he is known internationally as the “Russian scrotum artist.”

Pavlensky spent 18 months in pretrial detention after he doused a large wooden door at the FSB headquarters on Moscow’s Lubyanka Square with gasoline and set it on fire in November 2015. He was released in June 2016 and ordered to pay a hefty fine, which he refused to do.

Soon thereafter, in May 2016, France granted Pavlensky and his partner Oksana Shalygina political asylum.Pyotr Pavlenski (right) and his partner, Oksana Shalygina, in Paris in JanuaryThe couple claimed they fled Russia with their two daughters to escape a false sexual assault case against them. Pavlensky and Shalygina, who both advocate for open relationships, dismissed the allegations, claiming that their relationship with an alleged victim was consensual. However, a Moscow actress had accused them of raping her. They maintain that she filed her complaint under the orders of the Russian security services. If found guilty, the couple could be jailed for up to 10 years. Whatever.

Paris welcomed them with open arms, while Russians, particularly law and order authorities, breathed sigh of relieve — brazen provocateurs became a tremendous pain in their collective hinds.

Early Monday morning, Pavlensky, so-called “mind, balls and conscience” of Putin’s Russia, was arrested in Paris after setting fire to the doors of the Bank of France.In a statement made to Divergence Images Pavlensky explained that “bankers have taken the place of the monarchs” and called for a great French revolution. The ‘performance’ caused the bank to shut down on Monday, according to a note attached to the door. Piotr Pavlenski incendie la Banque de France, Place de la Bastille“Igniting the Bank of France shows the truth the authorities forced us to forget. The Bastille was destroyed by rebels as a symbol of despotism and power. There, they built another hotbed of slavery, which betrays the revolutionists and sponsors a bandit Versailles. The Bank of France took over the Bastille, bankers became monarchs,”  Pavlensky reportedly said in a statement, posted by Femen.
 

Meet The Sculptor: Chen Wenling

http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/QQ%E6%88%AA%E5%9B%BE201203222254441.jpgChen Wenling is a contemporary Chinese Neo-Realist artist. His works are surreal, often grotesque sculptures, often executed in bright monochrome colors.

chinese sculpture.PNG His aim is to examine and convey the rapid rise of consumerism in modern-day China.  http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/30_09_2009_0525556001254306014_chen-wenling.jpgHe shot to artistic fame with his Red Memory series (2001-07): more than 100 emaciated figures of naked boys at play, all covered in shiny red car duco.http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%BB%D1%8C%D1%87%D0%B8%D0%BA%D0%B8.jpgThe artist works mostly in fiberglass, a new technological direction in the art of sculpture. The material is light and relatively cheap.http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/chen-wenling_god-of-materialism1.jpgAmong the recurring characters in Chen’s work are pig-like humanoids and obese demons, all of which the artist deploys to create his biting social satire. Smashed against the wall is infamous “demon”, financier Bernard Madoff:http://moimir.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/emergency_escape_chen_wenling_008.jpgChen Wenling was born in 1969 in Quanzhou, China, studid at Xiamen Academy of Art. In rapid succession came international critical and commercial success. His work is exhibited both within China (the Guangzhou Art Museum, the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art) and abroad (Basel, Switzerland). In 1999, Chen won the Venice Biennale’s top prize, the prestigious Golden Lion. He continues to exhibit around the world and lives and works in Beijing, China.

 

Meet The Artist: Ceslovas Cesnakevicius

Ceslovas Cesnakevicius is 30 year old artist from Lithuania. He creates really unusual digital artwork.  His photos are so simple and at the same time so incredibly thought-provoking.

The artist has been careful for a decade to take shoots with the intention to create little surreal worlds. Each one of them, ethereal and fragile, with a story behind.

Cesnakevicius explains that his works are small pieces of his biography. Images which refer to artists like Magritte. Clean digital manipulations, which can be mistaken with oils.

See more of this artist’s works here.

 

Meet The Artist: Joel Rea

Joel Rea, 32-year-old artist from Australia, works in an unusual genre, combining photorealism with surrealism.
He paints portraits and landscapes, animals and the ocean and it seems that there is no such theme on the basis of which he could not create his picture.Joel prefers to work with canvas and oil, perfecting every smallest detail.

“It is very easy to smile when you win, but for me the most interesting thing is exactly what people do in the darkest hours of their lives, because it is at such moments that you show up as a person,” says the artist.

Mail Me A Baby

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The inauguration of a domestic parcel post service by Postmaster General Frank H. Hitchcock in 1913, greatly increased the volume of mail shipped nationwide, and motivated the development of more efficient postal transportation systems. (Wikipedia).

Many rural customers took advantage of inexpensive Parcel Post rates to order goods and products — food, clothing, grain, tobacco, medicines — from businesses located hundreds of miles away in distant cities for delivery by mail. Many college students and others used parcel post to mail home dirty laundry, as doing so was less expensive than washing the clothes themselves.  Image result for old pictures of postman

Mail was obliged to deliver not only fragile items, such as eggs, but livestock weighing up to 50 pounds. Under this category, the mailing of  baby chickens delighted the farmers and consumers across the land.chicks.PNGBut as it turned out, not only chickens fit this category, but little kids, weighing under 50 pound, too.

In January 1913, Mrs. and Mr. Jesse Beauge of Glen Este, Ohio, sent a parcel to Vernon Little, to be delivered to Mrs. Louis Beague, using the services of Rural Free Delivery.

The shipment cost them 15 cents paid for the postage stamp, while the content was insured for $50. The content of a parcel was the grandson of Mrs. Louis Beague. The kid’s parents figured out that sending a child by mail would be cheaper than taking him to his grandmother by any other means.

It was the first, but not the last child thus mailed.
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On January 27, 1913, Mrs. and Mr J.W. Savis from Pine Hollow, Pennsylvania, “packed up” and mailed their daughter to James Beyrle of Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. The girl was safely delivered to the recipient on the same day. The shipment cost the parents 45 cents.

On February 19, 1914, three months before her sixth birthday, May Pierstorff was mailed by her parents from Grangeville, Idaho, to her grandmother who lived 73 miles away. The cost of this “parcel” was 53 cents. May’s weight was 48.5 pounds — less than the maximum permissible 50 pounds.

After this incident, parcel post regulations were changed to prohibit the shipment of humans.

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This photo was published as an illustration to the USPS announcement that the mail will no longer accept humans for shipment.

But, as they say, the laws exist to be broken. A couple of months after the decree, a certain B.H. Knepper from Maryland mailed a 14 lb child to his grandmother in Clear Spring, some 12 miles away. Local newspapers claimed that the baby was sleeping peacefully throughout the entire trip.

In the same year, postal workers of Stillwell, Indiana, accepted a parcel marked “live baby”. The parcel — baby unharmed —  has changed hands through the post office window in South Bend, Indiana, baby’s divorced father on the receiving end. The shipment cost 17 cents.

And yet again, a year later, six-year-old Edna Neff  has been mailed by her mother from Pensacola, Florida, to her divorced father in Christiansburg, Virginia. The family fell on hard times with no money for travel. The shipment cost 15 cents. Edna’s weight was approaching the 50-pound mark. This was, distance wise, the longest registered transport of a child by parcel service.

1915 was a record year for mailing children. In September, three-year-old Mod Smith has been mailed by her grandparents to her mother, Ms. Selina Smith of Jackson, Kentucky. This case has been investigated by postal authority, and, apparently, was the last recorded instance of mailing children by USPS.

I didn’t know, did you?

 

 

Мееt The Sculptor: Isabel Miramontes

Born in Spain and influenced by the Celtic Origins of her village, the bronze works of Isabel MIRAMONTES have both a primitive and essential quality to them.

Her recognizable androgynous figures express a narrative of quiet certitude and the inevitable struggle of everyday man, his obstacles and triumphs.

The figures bear the weight of humanity, astonishingly defying their bronze origins with a definite fluidity of movement and a spiritual density omnipresent in her work.

Highly schooled and celebrated artist, Isabel MIRAMONTES resides in Belgium where she was raised and attended the Institute Sainte Marie and Saint Gilles.

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Allez Viens

Isabel is known for her bronze works, and does both commissioned monumental works, as well as small to midsize more accessible works as found on display at the Canfin Gallery. 

(Most of the narrative for this post and some of the images came from the Canfin Gallery’s site.)

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Extase

Isabel’s works reside in both public and private collections.

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Glissade

The artist’s work is pure movement, even if it’s an “animated” chair or bench. Unusual forms, elongated spirals and horizontal strips, which seem to wrap around the figure, show an inner confusion. Every figure is amazingly plastic and poetic.

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Chemin de Vie

“Isabel Miramontes feels that art calms the torments of life, and she freely
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reinvents them using her own artistic language. Her line is that of the wind, timelessly expanding and contracting to form her unique sculptural style. She does not like superfluous expression. To Miramontes, man and medium intermingle, becoming emotions and forgotten sensations which create art in its purest sense.”

 

 

Aliens Downstairs

This story is from the very recent archives of St. Petersburg’s agency of Russian EMERCOM (the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Civil Defense, Emergency Situations and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters), one of the Russian Federation’s emergency services.

Image result for emercom of russiaThe EMERCOM agents respond to the unusual complain from a citizen residing in the second floor apartment of an upscale St. Petersburg’s building.

The agents ring the doorbell. A man wearing an aluminum foil cap opens the door just a crack. When the agents announce themselves and enter the apartment, they can hardly contain their bewilderment. Every surface  in the entire flat — walls, floors, ceiling and every piece of furniture — is covered with aluminum foil. The owner, still wearing the foil cap, explains the reason for his obsession with foil covering as an attempt to protect himself from the deadly radiation emanating from upstairs.  “You see,” he laments, “My neighbor from the apartment directly above mine constantly, day and night, irradiates me. Do something. Help!”alumium.PNGThe agents gently reassure the “victim of irradiation” and, on his insistence, head upstairs to visit the villainous neighbor. They don’t mind, really. As a matter of protocol, they have to make sure that the paranoiac foil-capped man doesn’t bother the inhabitants of the upstairs apartment.

Another doorbell, and the neighbor — bespectacled, bearded, looking, incongruously, like a mad scientist from a bad movie — opens the door. EMERCOM agents walk in and… encounter yet another curious setup. The entire apartment is filled with… microwave ovens. microwave.PNG

Dozens of them. All turned on and facing down. The “mad scientist” explains that this is how he fights against an alien living downstairs who wants to enslave the world!

Funny or not, this is a real and fairly recent story from Russia. I would’ve forgotten about it, if not for this article in Daily Mail: Billionaire Bigelow space mogul says he is ‘absolutely convinced’ there are aliens on Earth.

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur who has recently worked with Nasa has said he is 'absolutely convinced' that there are alien visitors living on Earth. Robert Bigelow (pictured), speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, said he has spent 'millions' on alien research

A billionaire aerospace entrepreneur Robrt Bigelow has said he is ‘absolutely convinced’ that there are alien visitors living on Earth. 


Robert Bigelow, aforementioned billionaire space mogul, runs Bigelow Aerospace, a private space technology company, often partnering with NASA.

Speaking in an interview with 60 minutes, asked if he believed in aliens, Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I’m absolutely convinced. That’s all there is to it.’

Mr Bigelow made a number of other statements about his belief in aliens among us:

‘There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence [on Earth].

‘I spent millions and millions and millions – I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject [aliens].’

Mr Bigelow did not specify exactly how much he has spent on this research, and declined to comment on any personal UFO encounters.

Correspondent Lara Logan, who was leading the interview, then asked Mr Bigelow whether he felt it was risky for him to say in public that he believes in aliens.

She asked him whether he worried that people might think he was ‘crazy’.

Mr Bigelow responded: ‘I don’t give a damn. I don’t care.’ (–Excerpt from the article.)